Archives for February 2012

Surviving the February Food Blahs

There’s nothing very glamorous about food in February. Our barbecue is currently sitting under a mound of snow, and we’re only capable of dreaming of the grilled Caesar salads and cedar plank salmon instead of executing the dishes.

My Popsicle molds are gathering dust as summer treats such as cherry limeade popsicles just don’t fit the bill on a blustery winter day. In the grocery stores, as much as we embrace what’s in season now, the produce hardly compares to the sweet berries and tender greens of summer.

So how does one survive the February food blahs? How do we get excited to cook on these dark, cold days? And what kind of snacks are worth writing home about?

Today I’ll share what works for me and hopefully you’ll add your tips in the comments!

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Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs with Cranberries & Peppers (Slow-Cooker)

If I keep this one really short, you’ll forgive me, right? It’s been a long week, and I’m just ready to put my (puffy) feet up and sink a fork into a bowl of these comforting and totally satisfying sweet and sour turkey meatballs. I managed to freeze a meal’s worth of them for when the baby comes, which, apparently, could be any day now.

The days leading up to baby are both exciting and terrifying. Each evening as I go to bed the thought crosses my mind that this could be the last night of uninterrupted sleep for a while. So I pull the down comforter up to my chin, silence my iPhone, and close my eyes, searching for rest.

As circumstance would have it, the night is never without interruption though. I’m in my ninth month and there’s a string of delightful indicators to prove that, yes indeed, this is the most trying stretch.

At least there are turkey meatballs, studded with cranberries, flavored with orange zest, and served over a bed of rice. Meatballs which you should add to your menu soon. After all, everyone could use a bowl of comfort in February.

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Coconut-Lime Tofu

Eating Heart Smart (Recipe: Coconut-Lime Tofu & Rice)

Written by Megan of Stetted.

Valentine’s Day has passed us by again, and now it’s time to do our best to ignore that flashy 50% off sign dangling just above aisles of chocolate-filled hearts. February is American Heart Month, so instead of those shiny boxes, let’s focus on another heart: the one that really does keep us alive.

There is no simple pill that we can take to keep us healthy, but luckily many of the foods that are abundant in the world are full of nutrients that can help nurture a healthier body. When it comes to eating for health, simple, unprocessed foods are the best answer.

While science and medicine cannot directly link certain foods to the prevention of heart disease, these foods contribute to a healthy system overall.

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Vegetables In Season: February

A quick look around food blogs, Pinterest, and bakery window displays might lead one to believe that dark chocolate and marshmallows were in high season right now, and in a way, they are, peaking tomorrow in a blaze of sweetness. But what about the rest of the month? What is good eating in February?

In her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver called February ‘The Hungry Month’, and if you are living off the land, indeed it is. Most of us, however, have access to markets that carry a selection of good winter fruits and vegetables if you know what to look for.

Embracing cool-weather eating can take some adjustment, but it is better for the budget and for the environment, as you are buying what is local and in season. Of course, what is in season in February will vary with your location. For example, I’m in Eastern Canada and my sister is in South Texas. Produce that is cheap for me is often far pricier for her and vice versa.

Listed below is a broad range of beautiful vegetables that are available right now, as well as tips on how to prepare them. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to skip the peas and corn in the frozen section of the grocery store and pick up one of these seasonal vegetables instead.

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Craving Chocolate Cream Pie


Fruit pies hold my heart, there’s no question about it. I’ll choose apple, pumpkin, or rhubarb over cream pies any day of the week, and when the summer fruit runs out, I pair cranberries and citrus in one of my favorite pies ever.

So it was odd that the desire for a chocolate cream pie struck the other day. Chalk it up to pregnancy cravings or something of the sort.

There was a recipe for milk chocolate pudding that I had bookmarked to try from In My Mother’s Kitchen by Canadian cookbook author Trish Magwood. (I had the opportunity to meet Trish last August and have since been enjoying her beautiful, family-centered cookbook.)

I thought surely her pudding would be the perfect base for my pie – and it was. It thickened up perfectly and wasn’t too cloying or sweet. I used dark chocolate instead of her suggested milk, and whisked in a few teaspoons of butter at the end, just to help the pudding thicken better when chilled.

It was perfect, nearly good enough to sway me from a lifelong love of fruit pies. And definitely good enough for you to try, so here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cream Pie

ingredients:

1 cookie crumb crust – graham or chocolate – in a 9-inch pie pan

for the filling:

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
4 oz (125 g) good-quality chocolate, chopped (milk or dark)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

for the topping:

1 cup 35% whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
chocolate shavings (optional)

Method:

In a 2-quart sauce pot over medium heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt and milk.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then boil for 2 minutes. Mixture will be thick.
Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until chocolate melts and pudding is smooth. Whisk in butter.
Pour pudding into the 9-inch cookie crumb crust and smooth top with a spatula. Place a square of cling wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and place in the refrigerator. Chill for about 4 hours or overnight.

Whip cream to stiff peaks and add powdered sugar. Spoon evenly over chocolate pie and garnish with shaved chocolate. Serve chilled.

Yields: 1 -9 inch pie, about 8 servings.

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